28 October, 2021

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Threats To Sri Lanka’s National Sovereignty Under The Proposed Colombo Port City Commission Bill 

By Suri Ratnapala

Prof. Suri Ratnapala

The provisions of the Port City Bill, if enacted, will erode the legal and political sovereignty of Sri Lanka in a number of ways. Most of these threats, ranging from the composition of the governing body, the exemptions from national law, the wide discretionary power granted to the Commission, the limitation of parliamentary, prudential and judicial oversight of the Commission’s operations to the impact of the Bill’s provisions on fundamental rights, franchise of Sri Lankans and the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka have been identified and discussed in the media. The following comments focus on issues arising from the impermissible transfer of legislative powers from Parliament, the removal of judicial powers from the national courts and the consequent erosion of national sovereignty. I have not specifically addressed the following issues.

(a) The discriminatory, therefore negative, effects on Sri Lankan entrepreneurs, by the privileging of Port City businesses (authorised persons), in particular by tax and labour law exemptions and the grant of various forms of assistance.

(b) The impermissible restriction of fundamental rights of Sri Lankan citizens.

(c) The effect of the Bill on the rights of franchise.

(d) The effect of the Bill on the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.

(e) The absence of safeguards against opportunities for corrupt practices that could result from the extraordinary discretionary powers of the Commission.

COMPOSITION OF THE COMMISSION AND ITS ADMINISTRATION

The Commission will comprise 5 to 7 members one of whom will be the Chair with a casting vote. They are appointed by the President with no participation by any other body or Parliament. The Director-General to whom the powers of the Commission can be delegated is also appointed by the President at his sole discretion. Given the potential threats to the sovereignty, national security and the economic well being of the nation, it is advisable that these interests are represented on the Commission by majority membership. The presence of ex-officio members on the Commission, perhaps the heads of Treasury and Central Bank, is worth considering.

LEGISLATIVE POWER OF THE COMMISSION

Article 3 of the Constitution declares that ‘In the Republic of Sri Lanka sovereignty is in the People and is inalienable. Sovereignty includes the powers of government, fundamental rights and the franchise’. Article 4 which prescribes the manner in which the Sovereignty of the People shall be exercised commands that

(a) the legislative power of the People shall be exercised by Parliament, consisting of elected representatives of the People and by the People at a Referendum.

Article 83(a) of the Constitution enacts that ‘a Bill for the amendment or for the repeal and replacement of or which is inconsistent with any of the provisions of Articles 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and
11 or of this Article … shall become law if the number of votes cast in favour thereof amounts to not less than two-thirds of the whole number of Members (including those not present), is approved by the People at a Referendum’.

Article 3 is violated by legislation that contravenes the manner of the exercise of the Sovereignty of the People set out in Article 4. In considering whether a Bill offends the manner of the exercise of legislative power, Art 4(a) needs to be read with Article 76. Article 76(1) commands that ‘Parliament shall not abdicate or in any manner alienate its legislative power and shall not set up any authority with any legislative power’. (My emphasis.) Article 76(3) clarifies that Parliament may empower ‘any person or body to make subordinate legislation for prescribed purposes …’. However, the powers granted to the Port City Commission are unmistakably of the nature of primary legislative power and hence clearly violates Art 76(1).

Hence the Bill, in my view, cannot be constitutionally enacted without the approval of the People at a Referendum.

Sources of the Commission’s Legislative Power

The Commission derives legislative powers from a number of sources.

1. General Power to Govern Notwithstanding National Law

The Commission is given a general power to plan, issue and monitor compliance, of permits and authorisations ‘notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any other written law’. – section 6(1)(

i). This is the power to create new rights and obligations in disregard of national law. In other words it is legislative power in the strict sense.

The Greater Colombo Economic Commission Act No 4 of 1978 offers an illuminating contrast. The Act incorporates a significant measure of parliamentary control over executive discretions to change national law in favour of investors and to preserve national sovereignty.

i. The Minister (who was answerable to Parliament) retained power to give general and special directions to the Commission. (s 23)

ii. The Minister held power by regulation to determine the scope and extent of and exemption of modification of the laws set out in Schedule B. (s 24(1)(a))

iii. Any modification of the laws specified in Schedule C had to be made by the Minister by regulation. (s 24(1)(b))

iv. Critically, all regulations had to be approved by Parliament and those not approved were deemed rescinded. (s 24(3))

2. Power to Coerce Regulatory Authorities

There are a number of provisions of the Bill that would allow the Port City Commission to compel regulatory authorities under other laws to give their concurrence to measures that it proposes. In other words, the Commission may override or assume the powers vested in another statutory authority by Parliament. This is legislative power to set aside the national law in favour of the
Commission’s clients.

Section 3(5) of the Bill requires the Commission to ‘obtain the concurrence of the relevant Regulatory Authority in respect of the subjects vested in or assigned to, such Regulatory Authority’.

This requirement applies to all statutes that require permits, approvals or licences. However, the second proviso of s 3(6) stipulates: ‘(6) The relevant Regulatory Authority from whom such concurrence is being sought by the Commission, shall as soon as practicable in the circumstances, as a matter of priority, provide such concurrence to the Commission.’

On the one hand the Commission is required to obtain concurrence and on the other hand may compel prompt concurrence! It boggles the legal mind but the legal effect is clear enough. The
Commission has power to override national regulatory law at will. There are specific powers to compel similarly, the concurrence of the Condominium Management Authority (s 55(3)) and of the Securities and Exchange Commission. (58(1))

3. Power to Modify National Law in Favour of Businesses of Strategic Importance (Part IX)

The first point to note is the identity of ‘Businesses of Strategic Importance’ (hereafter BSI). They are the businesses designated by the Commission as BSI with the approval of the President and the Cabinet of Ministers. (ss 52 and 53) The businesses so designated and the concessions granted to them must be reported to Parliament but parliamentary approval is not required. (s 53(4))

These businesses may be granted exemptions and incentives over and above those granted to other authorised businesses for a period up to 40 years. Especially, they could be exempted from the laws specified in Schedule II of the Act. They are:

1. The Inland Revenue Act, No. 24 of 2017

2. The Value Added Tax Act, No. 14 of 2002

3. The Finance Act, No. 11 of 2002

4. The Finance Act, No. 5 of 2005

5. The Excise (Special Provisions) Act, No. 13 of 1989

6. The Debit Tax Act, No. 16 of 2002

7. The Customs Ordinance (Chapter 235)

8. The Ports and Airports Development Levy Act, No. 18 of 2011

9. The Sri Lanka Export Development Act, No. 40 of 1979

10. The Betting and Gaming Levy Act, No. 40 of 1988

11. Termination of Employment of Workmen (Special Provisions) Act, No. 45 of 1971

12. The Entertainment Tax Ordinance (Chapter 267)

13. The Foreign Exchange Act, No. 12 of 2017

14. Casino Business (Regulation) Act, No. 17 of 2010

Guidelines for the award of concessions could be established by regulations (which require parliamentary approval) but regulations are not mandatory. (s 52(5). Besides s 52(6) states:

(6) The Commission may also extend such other assistance or facilitation as may be necessary as incentives to attract Businesses of Strategic Importance, to the Colombo Port
City.

As a matter of statutory interpretation, it appears that regulatory guidelines, even if enacted, will not apply to the concessions extended under s 52(6).

The provisions of Part IX confer substantial legislative power on the Commission and the Executive Branch beyond the control of Parliament.

4. Power to Make Community Rules

The Commission is empowered by s 10(4) to make community rules. ‘Community rules’ are defined by s 74 as follows:

“community rules” means rules specifying guidelines and instructions as formulated from time to time by the Commission, which are to be complied with by the owners and occupiers of Condominium Parcels or premises situated within the Area of Authority of the Colombo Port City, with a view to ensuring the maintenance of harmony and the promotion of a cohesive living environment.

The community rules are enforceable laws. However, they are not required to be approved by Parliament. The violations of a community rule is a criminal offence punishable after summary trial in the Magistrates Court by imprisonment to a maximum of 2 years and/or a fine of up to five million rupees. (s 68(1)) reads:

68. (1) Notwithstanding the provisions contained in any other written law, any person who, within the Area of Authority of the Colombo Port City–

(f) contravenes or fails to comply with any rule, code, direction or guideline made or issued in terms of this Act, commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction after summary trial before a Magistrate, to a fine of not less than rupees one million and not more than rupees five million or to imprisonment for a term not less than three months and not more than two years, or both such fine and imprisonment and the court may take into consideration the grave nature of the offence committed, in fixing the amount of such fine or the period of such imprisonment.

5. Extension of Jurisdiction Beyond the Limits of the Port City Area

Section 64(1) of the Bill, if enacted, will empower the Commission (with the consent of the President or Minister responsible) to permit an authorised person (Port City business) to engage in business from a designated location in Sri Lanka, outside the Area of Authority for a period not exceeding five years from the commencement of the Act. Such businesses then become ‘entitled to all the privileges accorded to, and be deemed for all purposes to be, a business situated within and engaged in business, in and from, the Area of Authority of the Colombo Port City’. These businesses become subject to the provisions of the Act. (s 64(2))

Section 64 is said to be an interim provision that ceases on the lapse of 5 years from the commencement of the Act. No such time limit is set for businesses who are authorised under s 37 ‘to engage in business in Sri Lanka, with a citizen of Sri Lanka or a resident, who is engaged in business in Sri Lanka, outside the Area of Authority of the Colombo Port City’. ‘Residents’, of course are not Sri Lankan nationals. In theory, if not in practice, any number of Port City Businesses may be authorised to operate in any location within Sri Lanka provided that they partner with a citizen or resident. These businesses will continue to enjoy indefinitely, the entitlements and concessions received under the Act that are denied to local businesses.

REMOVAL OF JUDICIAL POWER FROM NATIONAL COURTS

Article 4(c) of the Constitution commands that

(c) the judicial power of the People shall be exercised by Parliament through courts, tribunals and institutions created and established, or recognized, by the Constitution, or created and established by law, except in regard to matters relating to the privileges, immunities and powers of Parliament and of its Members, wherein the judicial power of the People may be exercised directly by Parliament according to law …

Judicial power is an attribute of the inalienable sovereignty of the People. (Art 3 read with Art 4)

The Port City Bill significantly erodes the judicial power of the ‘courts, tribunals and institutions created and established, or recognized, by the Constitution, or created and established by law’. According to Art 111M of the Constitution the judges and members of such courts, tribunals and institutions have to be appointed by the Judicial Service Commission.

Compulsory arbitration by the International Commercial Dispute Resolution Centre (ICDRC)

The ICDRC will be established as a company limited by guarantee under the Companies Act, No. 7 of 2007, for the purposes of offering conciliation, mediation, adjudication, arbitration and any other alternate dispute resolution services.

Section 62(2) enacts that disputes within the Port City Area between –

(a) the Commission and an authorised person or an employee of an authorised person

(b) the Commission and a resident or an occupier, provided that there exists in relation thereto, an agreement or other legally binding document as between the Commission and such resident or occupier, shall be resolved by way of arbitration conducted by the International Commercial Dispute Resolution Centre.

Section 62(3) requires all agreements made by authorised persons to contain provisions for the mandatory reference of disputes to the ICDRC.

Arbitration is a method of alternative dispute resolution based on voluntary contract. If arbitration is made compulsory by a state provided panel, it is no longer arbitration but a form of administrative adjudication. Under arbitration law, courts have no general power of review awards. Contestable grounds are strictly limited. The legal effect of these provisions is the removal of a category of disputes from the jurisdiction of the courts, tribunals and institutions constitutionally established for the administration of justice.

It must be noticed that arbitration awards are final and binding between parties and may be contested only in enforcement proceedings on highly restricted grounds. Enforcement of ICDRC awards, according to s 62(5) of the Bill are to be done under the Arbitration Act No 11 of 1995. Section 32 of the Arbitration Act sets out the following grounds for resisting enforcement.

(i) Incapacity of a party or the invalidity of the agreement under the applicable law.

(ii) Failure to give proper notice of the appointment of an arbitrator or of the arbitral proceedings or the party was otherwise unable to present his case.

(iii) Award deals with a dispute not contemplated by or not falling within the terms of the submission to arbitration, or contains decisions on matters beyond the scope of the submission to arbitration

(iv) the composition of the arbitral tribunal or the arbitral procedure was not in accordance with the agreement of the parties

(v) the subject matter of the dispute is not capable of settlement by arbitration under the law of Sri Lanka

(vi) the arbitral award is in conflict with the public policy of Sri Lanka.

These provisions have the effect of depriving the courts of original and appellate jurisdiction under the Constitution.

The provisions of the GCEC Act again offers an alternative process that avoids conflict with the Constitution. Section 26(1) of the GCEC Act provides for the reference of disputes between the GCEC and enterprises not to a state tribunal but to the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes. (ICSDID) ‘unless otherwise agreed to between the parties’. The provision does not prevent parties from making other arbitration arrangements and does not exclude the jurisdiction of national courts.

CONCLUSION

It is my considered opinion from the strictly legal standpoint that for reasons explained in the foregoing text, the Port City Bill as currently drafted cannot be constitutionally enacted without the approval of the People at a Referendum as prescribed in Article 83 of the Constitution.

*Suri Ratnapala, Emeritus Professor of Public Law, The University of Queensland, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, Attorney at Law, Sri Lanka

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Latest comments

  • 19
    1

    This country slow now becomes a fools paradise

    • 13
      1

      This country is now slowly becoming a fools paradise

      • 15
        0

        You mean its not there yet? Your very kind.

    • 15
      4

      fp
      I would have thought that the process started in 1978 with much euphoria and that we are only now approaching its logical conclusion.

      • 16
        4

        SJ
        It is not started in 1978. It is before that!

        • 2
          5

          When may I ask, and how?

          • 2
            8

            From the 16th century. That’s when European colonialists started to import slaves from South India to SL, Burma, Malaya, Africa, etc.

            • 2
              1

              GATAM,
              .
              Including all your ancestors, or only some of them?
              .
              Let’s take a date in the 16th Century. 1564 will serve well, because that was the year that the following were born: (in Europe, admittedly; a bit difficult to find out about Sri Lanka, although a really clever man could. These just happened to be in my head).
              .
              William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Galileo Gallilei.
              .
              At that point, how many of your ancestors were alive? There is another hazard that you mustbe alive to when making that calculation. Some of them may have been your ancestor twice or thrice, since they may have existed on different lines of your lineage.
              .
              I simply don’t know about mine – and acknowledge it. Any “homo sapien” would, you know. You possibly don’t have the brains that a “normal” “Sapien” usually has. I acknowledge that Sri Lanka has approximately 6.9 such abnormal beings who voted for the “Double-Paksas” in November 2019 and August 2020.
              .
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vgv844p3eE
              .
              The guy there is talking only about what he actually knows. I have had a phone chat with him. He says that he cannot possibly do a programme on larger groups, the Moors, for instance.

          • 6
            2

            It may have commenced with the Aryan Prince and 700 acolyte charlatans arrived, 2000 years ago and then, whilst savouring the hospitality of the then reigning queen, vanquished/exterminated her and imported 701 Pandya Dravidic consorts to comfort and keep company. Very long time ago, Well before the advent of the western powers, who were actually not invaders as they came in by invitation of the Ruler of the island at that time.

          • 2
            1

            SJ, It may have commenced with the Aryan Prince and 700 acolyte charlatans arrived, 2000 years ago and then whilst savouring the hospitality of the then reigning queen, vanquished/exterminated her and imported 701 Pandya Dravidic consorts to comfort and keep company. Very long time ago, Well before the advent of the western powers, who were actually not invaders as they came in by invitation of the Ruler of the island at that time.

          • 7
            1

            SJ,
            Sinhala Only Bill, (1956), act passed by the government of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) making Sinhalese the official language of the country. The bill was the first step taken by the new government of S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike to realize one of the main campaign promises that had brought about his landslide victory in the 1956 general election
            In September 1957, J R declared a 72-mile march from Colombo to Kandy, the seat of the Temple of the Tooth- the zenith of religiosity of the Sinhalese Buddhists in Ceylon. In explaining the purpose of the March, he said that he would invoke the blessings of the sacred tooth of the Buddha for the abrogation of the BC Pact.

            • 2
              2

              A
              I think that you should read Mahila’s text below.

            • 0
              2

              Why are you speakimg about a bygone act in a bygone era. It’s 2021 but you still live 1956. People who voted for the act has died and the ones who suffered from has also died.

      • 3
        0

        SJ,
        Fully agree that it started in 1978. At that time, no one could comprehend, that we will have 6.9 Million foolish voters to endorse a third coming (as if 1one was not enough) of an organisation in SL with such reputation. Remember the famous interactions that, Colvin R De Silva had with the then PM (with 4/5 Majority in Parliament, claimed that he can do anything, except change a male to a female or vice versa – Medical professionals had not at that time mastered sex change process – not until after 1978). Colvin implored JRJ (his school mate and colleague in Parliament), not to proceed with the 2nd Republican constitution in the format as planned by direct election, questioning, “What would happen if the post of HE the president of SL is ever foisted on a Megalomaniac without foresight, lack of knowledge and thinking, by the SL electorate?” No avail.
        JRJ’s countering wit was that, “SL voters are very intelligent and knowledgeable and Such a scenario will not eventuate. Now we know the truth about that intelligence and who had the foresight and wisdom.
        Wisdom is normally bestowed on people devoid of power than those in power as “the Power corrupts and absolute Power corrupts Absolutely” (name of author not sure – Lloyd George or Benjamin Disraeli British PMs – Of course SL voters would not have heard or dismissed as “western reactionary thoughts”)

      • 4
        3

        SJ, You are absolutely right as to year 1978.

        • 0
          3

          M
          Thank you.

    • 4
      7

      Fools p,

      It was for centuries.

      The only solution is to split the island into 3 mono ethnic nations equitably and relocate people. Sinhala Only Nation (China Inc.), Tamil Elam (India Inc.) and Muslim Elam (Saudi/Pakistan Inc.).

      Otherwise this fools paradise will worsen into a fools hell.

      • 6
        2

        Jadam keep on demanding for an Islamic Eezham for the converted South Indian origin immigrant Thamizh Muslim, they will not get it. By the way you being bribed by some Islamic nation like Porukistan or some nation in the Gulf to keep on making this silly demand.

    • 2
      7

      Get out from the fool’s paradise, this country belongs to 75.% Sinhalese Aryans. We all know the wealth robbers of Sinhalese Aryan country.

    • 2
      7

      Get out from the fool’s paradise. This country belongs to 75.% Sinhalese Aryans. We all know who are the wealth robbers of the Sinhalese Aryan country. Begining and growth of civilization of Sri Lanka 123,00 BC oldest Sinhalese Aryan found in Sri Lanka, Pathirajawela in the deep south of Sri Lanka (Heladiva)

      • 0
        0

        This is the thanks you show us for not being an Ali Jinnah of Pakistan.

      • 4
        1

        N. Pererass

        “This country belongs to 75.% Sinhalese Aryans.”

        Prove it.
        Do you have two willies?

      • 0
        0

        Dear N. Perera,
        .
        What is the year indicated? Your unusual punctuation arouses in me (and may be in others, as well) genuine perplexity.
        .
        Do you mean 12,300 BC or 123,000 BC? Were there Sinhalese inscriptions with those dates on them?
        .
        What I give below doesn’t seem to be a “respectable” academic or scientific website. Was that bit of the Internet invented by “Sinhalese-Aryans?
        .
        https://amazinglanka.com/wp/prehistoric-sites-of-sri-lanka/
        .
        I see that there are many “crazy-looking” websites; ignoring them, may I ask if this sets forth acceptable information?
        .
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_prehistory
        .
        At this moment we are desperately begging the world for COVID vaccines. If we spout nonsense, we may be asked to develop our own. Haven’t we had enough of “Dhammika’s peniya”, and Eliantha White’s pots of charmed water?
        .
        May I also ask whether we’re not going away from the subject set by the article which is how our National Sovereignty is threatened by the Colombo Port City?

  • 10
    3

    I fully agree with the conclusion of this article.
    .
    It looks like the Supreme Court has already delivered its judgement to Parliament. Otherwise how could the government fix a date for the debate next week?
    “Lame Presidential Commissions” have already taken over the “Powerful Judiciary” violating people’s fundamental rights.
    However, if this judgement is in favour of China, then the question of whether our Supreme Court has any powers to truncate state sovereignty will arise.
    The answer is, according to our Constitution, even the Supreme Court has no power to compromise Sri Lanka’s sovereignty to China without people’s consent through a referendum.

    • 3
      12

      Talking about the violation of Sri Lanka’s sovereignty through the Port City Separate State Bill, all Sinhalese should be aware that there is a vicious government move to discriminate against the Sinhala language, which is a part of a wider conspiracy leading to ethnic cleansing of the Sinhalese Buddhists.
      As everybody knows, the Sinhala is a minority language spoken only by the Sinhalese people who are only 0.25% of the world population.
      The Presidential Committee appointed to regularize Buddhist books/texts/canons is also a part of discrimination against Sinhala language.
      The government gazette notification to conduct Law College examination only in English is a deliberate decision aiming at a fewer number of Sinhalese Buddhist people in the legal sector. This decision does not affect Muslims/Tamils as they never had any problem with English & Catholicism, though they are all against Sinhala language & Buddhism.
      As revealed by two patriotic Buddhist monks, for over five decades, Sinhala language has been subjected to institutionalized discrimination in the hands of MINORITY government MINISTERS of Education and Justice.
      I invite every Sinhalese Buddhist to watch the following two videos and understand the gravity of the matter.
      .
      Venerable Anuradhapura Amitha Dhamma Thero
      https://youtu.be/g2tdySKVrtA
      .
      Lecturer in Buddhism, Rajakeeya Panditha Shastrapathi Venerable Puliadde Sudhamma Thero:
      https://youtu.be/DfIg6DOFxmY

      • 9
        1

        So it is all Sinhala for you. Tamils are just outsiders. As before the so-called ‘independence, we were all equal citizens, and now we are just minorities we came from elsewhere. Tamils should support any move for a foreign country to capture us and make us equal citizens. We should have an independent umpire and he cannot be from one of the teams.

      • 9
        1

        Champa,
        “As everybody knows, the Sinhala is a minority language spoken only by the Sinhalese people who are only 0.25% of the world population.”
        No you are wrong. Parts of the Sinhala language are spoken in Portugal, Holland, India, UK…
        (Credit to Native Vedda).
        BTW, why do you keep insisting that Buddhist monks know everything? If they actually knew anything, wouldn’t they be the ones doing liver transplantation, building highways, writing software……? We have too many preachers and few doers.

      • 3
        1

        Hi Champa, I do agree with you that it may come to pass when all of us have to learn Mandarin to get a pass to visit the port city to work or otherwise in the near future. very good point. This is a valid point.
        I note that you have made a small error by oversight in the calculation of the Sinhala Buddhist population of SL and bring to your notice. It should be 0.226% and not 0.25 % of the world population, which is a more important reason why it should be safeguarded against being obliterated, by a language spoken by 20.65% of the world population.

  • 15
    0

    Prof.Suri. Ratnapala,
    Your conclusion from your analysis shows that this bill violates against to the constitution and is a threat to national sovereignty.
    I hope this message will touch the hearts and minds of the people, particularly by the Buddhist Sinhala community who are cheated by the Rajapaksas and China.
    In my opinion, China’s influence with Rajapaksa family must have been a long history and it is China’s idea to bring back Gota into the power. The strong man propaganda and militarisation and 20th amendment were all well planned with the input or diection of China. There was a concern among some allies of SLPP during the period of 20th amendment, but they thought it is about bringing Basil Rajapaksa but no one thought it was about Port City deal with China as well. It is now clear that East Colombo Harbour to India and Japan was another plot to cheat Buddhist Sinhala.
    Overall Buddhist Sinhala community was cheated by Rajapaksas and China together and now they have full power to do whatever threat come from Buddhist Sinhala because the legal system is under their control.

    • 4
      8

      A
      I searched and searched for the words China and Chinese in the article to no avail.
      How did you manage to pull a Chinese rabbit out of this hat?
      *
      Frankly, it is a very informative essay (although all fears expressed may not risk materializing) and deserves respect.
      *
      ps.
      Are you seriously concerned about the plight of the Sinhalese?

    • 2
      0

      Ajith, Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
      “Money (or wealth) is the source of all evil” – Thirukkural, by Thiruvalluvar (circa 350 BCE).
      After the 20th amendment, the UL flight with undeclared cargo of “Printed material” from Katunayake to East /West Africa is of great significance. If not, why the secrecy?
      “They (SLPP) thought it is about bringing Basil Rajapaksa but no one thought it was about Port City deal with China as well”.
      It is naïve to think so. Do not agree.
      Bring Basil Rajapaksa to Parliament, a simple amendment would have sufficed, even with a referendum, allowing dual citizens’ eligibility, if directed by Supreme court, it would have been a ‘cake walk’ at that time in 08/2020 when they were popular. I realised, when claims were made that, one cannot govern without repealing the 20th amendment, that there were other reasons to it.
      How did, DSS and son DSS, SJK, SWRDB, SIRIMA (a housewife until September 1959 and not a politician), JRJ govern before 09/1978 and discharged their duties as Head of Government. They countered the first insurrection of JVP satisfactorily and the 30 year war did not start until the 1978 constitution was in place with the related antics and power hungry charlatan politicians
      .

  • 9
    0

    Since this is a matter of bargaining the sovereignty of Sri Lanka, it is considered as a National issue. Therefore approval should be obtained from the people at a referendum.

  • 19
    1

    What sovereignty is the author talking about? Since ancient times, the practice of the rulers has been to invite foreigners to meet local skills shortages or for military purposes. That’s how the Karawes and Salagamas came here.
    The Portuguese were drawn into the internal politics of the island with the political upheaval of the Wijayaba Kollaya, and used these internal divisions to their advantage
    The Dutch were invited by the Sinhalese to help fight the Portuguese. They signed the Kandyan Treaty of 1638 with Rajasinghe II . Finally the British were invited by the Kandyans to oust their own king.
    Given such a history of amoral duplicity by the Sinhalese, is it possible to seriously talk about sovereignty? I think not.
    Whoever is interested, be it Chinese, Indians, Americans, my advice to them is : Watch your backs !

    • 2
      10

      old codger
      You should correct the distorted facts in your comment, as follows:
      .
      “Some Sinhalese Kings had hired FOREGIN MERCENARIES to wage war against FOREIGN INVADERS who had NAVAL POWER.”

      • 11
        2

        Chimpi, that is a real hoot you asking others to correct their statements. You are one of those vile racists garbage that throws all kinds of lies about SL. Call the Tamils invaders, while the Sinhalese themselves invaded this country. Tamils have been in the country as long as the Sinhalese. So shut the hell up you stupid racist woman. Until to date you loser have not explained the relationship between Ali Baba, his forty thieves and all top command of the LTTE who are freely running around in Colombo with STF protection.

        • 7
          2

          Most of the present day Sinhalese, especially many from the so called anti Tamil patriotic band, are descended from Tamil immigrants and invaders from South India. Yet they hate India, especially South India and Tamils from whom they are largely descended from. This is the power of the Mahavamsa myth and brainwashing by their peers, politicians and clergy. Now even a Cardinal originating from the recently Tamil North West coast has joined this bandwagon.

          • 3
            0

            Tamil from the hell
            old coder
            Blabla
            Rohan25
            Pandi Kutti
            Siva Sankaran Sharma
            .
            Oh, please, give me a break!
            You can never prove that “Tamils have been in the country as long as the Sinhalese”.
            Learn YOUR history first.
            You were Moors (Arabs) who turned out to be Malabarians after your Arab ancestors took over Malaa (mountainous) region or Malabar or Manibar or Mulibar (the West coast of South India). Through Malabar, Arabs then conquered Northern India.
            From Malabar, some Arab Moors moved to the Malacca region who were later known as Malaccas.
            We never had Tamil settlements in ancient Lanka until Dutch and the British brought down Malabarians as labourers who were first called as Mohammadians and then Tamils. The current Muslim lot in Sri Lanka is a mixed race.
            There have been many Malabar invaders (not settlers) in ancient Lanka, but they were successfully defeated and chased back to Malabar.
            Tamil (Thamizh) has never been an Indian language until around the 8th Century AD.
            The origin of the Tamil (Thamizh) language was in Arabian Peninsula, NOT in India. In other words, Tamils (Thamizh) have no connection with Dravidians. Their connection is with Arab Moors.

            • 0
              1

              Champa,
              “Arabs then conquered Northern India from Malabar,”
              Really, Champa, you seem to have made some amazing discoveries about Indian history. So, according to you, the Arabs built the Taj Mahal, Delhi Fort, etc?
              I am sure the Pakistanis are tickled pink to hear that their ancestors were Arabs, not Greeks, Persians, Tajiks, etc. You should write a history book, Champa.

              • 0
                0

                old codger
                For your information, Mughal is a Muslim dynasty founded by a Turkish-Mogol Prince named Babur. Mughals ruled Northern India from the 16th to the 18th Century. Mughal emperor Shah Jahan ruled Northern India 30 years in the 17th Century.

                • 0
                  0

                  Champa,
                  This is what you wrote:
                  “Arabs then conquered Northern India from Malabar,”
                  The Mughals were Muslims but not Arabs. All Muslims are not Arabs. Neither are all Arabs Muslims.

                  • 0
                    0

                    Champa,
                    The Mughals in any case invaded India from the north, not Malabar. Get your facts right.

        • 0
          1

          @Tamil from the north
          But the thing is, Tamils were invaders. They invaded Sri Lanka dozens of times from Elara to Raja Raja Chola. Are you saying these are lies?. Tamil invasios are the sole reason why Anuradhapura fell.

      • 5
        2

        Champa,
        Read your history. Since it repeats itself, you can predict the future. Works better than astrology.

    • 3
      9

      OC
      “Given such a history of amoral duplicity by the Sinhalese, is it possible to seriously talk about sovereignty? I think not.”
      *
      Your suggestions will lead to the position that most of the Sinhalese in the Island are not really “Sinhalese” but South Indians.
      Whose duplicity are we dealing with?
      Most of the bickering rulers were either from South India or Southeast India or descendants of such folk.
      The craftiest of the Sinhalese today seem to be non-Sinhalese settlers.
      Has it not been Tamil-Malayali-Telugu duplicity that has been in operation?

      • 5
        1

        Oh yes and the victims of this operation were largely the indigenous Eezham Thamizh! Please use brains and commonsense which I know you lack, despite being an academic. They did not do this as part of the Thamizh -Malayali-Telugu duplicity but as brain washed Chingkallams, who thought they were some sort of indigenous Aryans. Aryan indeed. Oh by the way there was no Malayalam ethnicity at the time of their arrival in the island. The Malayali were still part of the Thamizh ethnicity and what was then called Malayalam was the local western Chera Thamizh dialect. The so called Telugu element in this is very minimal and many of these so called Telugu were not speaking or identifying themselves as Telugu but as Thamizh.

      • 3
        1

        S.J,
        “Has it not been Tamil-Malayali-Telugu duplicity that has been in operation?”
        One way of putting it, yes. But it lacks the desired punch, you see. It wouldn’t bring out the patriots.

        • 2
          0

          OC
          All patriots dish out the same old drivel regardless of what the question is or how it is framed.

      • 0
        0

        SJ,

        “Your suggestions will lead to the position that most of the Sinhalese in the Island are not really “Sinhalese” but South Indians.”

        South Indians who don’t speak a South Indian language, let alone understand a simple sentence in Tamil. Most languages in India come from Sanskrit. Tamil is a legendary language only in the minds of Tamils.

        • 0
          0

          Lester,
          Your expertise in languages is about as good as your knowledge of 5G technology. Stop making a fool of yourself.

    • 5
      2

      old codger

      Have you had time to read Gota’s May Day Message?

      • 2
        1

        Native,
        No, I didn’t. But, as some Internet wag put it, whether he appoints Kings-Lee or Bruce Lee as his spokesman, he can only read out what’s written for him.

        • 2
          2

          But we are in for an even tougher time. On the advice of Glyphosate Ratana, Nandasena has banned chemical fertilizers. Get ready with your ration book.

          • 4
            2

            No ration books. JRJ did away with them for good.
            Also, there may not be enough to share that way.

    • 6
      4

      You are correct all throughout history the so called Sinhalese monarchs since ancient times invited their close South Indian(Tamil) relatives to settle disputes of ascension, invite South Indian( Tamil ) immigrants to meet skill shortage and for military purposes. It is not only the Karawe , Salagama and Durawa but there was another Tamil community called Demala Gattara who were invited for military purposes and have now become part of the Goivgama. Later it was the Portuguese who arrived here due to Sinhalese internal divisions and then the Dutch were invited by the Sinhalese to oust the Portuguese and later the British were invited by the Kandyans to oust their Tamil king , Funny most of the so called Kandyan Sinhalese aristocracy who invited the British to oust the Tamil king were themselves of Tamil ancestry. This is the story of the Sinhalese invite everyone to settle disputes or to keep the Tamils in place and then call them invasions and blame the Tamils and now the Muslim Tamils too but they are always innocent victims . Create all the problems and them claim victimhood. Nothing is their fault.

      • 0
        0

        You may be correct, but all of them are considered Sinhala now, aren’t they?. How did they become Sinhala and Northen Tamils styed Tamil?. It’ll be a miracle if Sinhalese didn’t have any Tamil DNA. And if they are descendents of Tamils and Sri Lanka is the Tamil homeland what’s the problem of Tamils (Sinhalese) living in Tamil land (Sri lanka). Why is they are a need for separate state? You confuse me with your logic

        • 0
          0

          Yasiru,
          “what’s the problem of Tamils (Sinhalese) living in Tamil land (Sri lanka).”
          The problem is that the state gives these ( Southern) migrants free land, while Northern migrants are not given free land in the South. Simple.

    • 1
      5

      OC

      Tell me of the nation that has had no alliances, they are a nation without a country . (Tamils Kurds)

      if anything being an island has kept Sri Lanka from having to deal with constant invasions in the past. but that is no longer the case after naval power .

      • 4
        2

        a14455

        “if anything being an island has kept Sri Lanka from having to deal with constant invasions in the past. but that is no longer the case after naval power .”

        Are you sure you know what you are talking about?

        • 0
          0

          A14455,
          “if anything being an island has kept Sri Lanka from having to deal with constant invasions in the past. “
          According to Eagle, there have been 52 invasions in 2500 years. Roughly one every 50 years.

      • 1
        0

        A14455,
        “Tell me of the nation that has had no alliances, they are a nation without a country .”
        I am not talking about alliances. Selling your own king down the river is not an alliance. Nor is getting foreigners to fight your relatives an alliance. The latest example was Premadasa supplying arms to the LTTE. Face the truth.

      • 0
        0

        a14455 thanks for your fantastic joke.

  • 9
    0

    Unfortunately this situation is too complex for the simple minded,, and uninformed people. That is a pity, because they should realize the gravity of this situation, and that we are slowly losing our sovereignty, and freedom. An alien nation will have far too influence, and will eventually call the shots. What is noticeable is the lack of protests from those who yelled about this being a Sinhala country, and that includes the extremist Buddhist monks, who never failed to informed the minority that this is THEIR country. Maybe they will enjoy eating their rice with chop sticks.

    • 0
      10

      “Unfortunately this situation is too complex for the simple minded,, and uninformed people.”
      Are the many oversimplified comments on the subject on these pages by people with sophisticated minds?

      • 0
        2

        “Are the many oversimplified comments on the subject on these pages by people with sophisticated minds?”
        Do the thumbs down mean “NO”?
        Great.

        • 0
          0

          Any more bids?

    • 3
      7

      I am just shocked that this clown is worried about sovereignty? I wonder if he is talking about the Eelam or Sri Lanka.

      • 3
        1

        Tamil Elam’s sovereignty has been totally violated since 2009 so it is not up for discussion.

      • 1
        0

        a14455
        Which clown?
        There are too many of us clowning here: some consciously, others unconsciously.

    • 7
      3

      Throughout history only 2/3 of the island can be called Sinhalese country 1/3 of it had always been Tamil country. Now thank to the British and the mess they created, the entire island has become Sinhalese country since 1948 and the Tamils who have lived in the north, east and north west coast from ancient times are fast losing their lands to this so called Sinhalese only country. The Tamil Muslims or the Sri Lankan Moors should realize if the Tamils loose, they will also loose very badly , as they belong to the greater Tamil nation. I think they have realized this fact only too late , that the Sinhalese were only using them as a tool to marginalize their fellow non Muslim Tamils and once that was achieved successfully in May 2009 , they were of no use , other than in parts of the east too further marginalize the Tamils and turned on them. United we win but divided they destroy each Tamil community of the greater Tamil nation in the island. Indigenous Eelam , Indian origin and Muslim.

      • 0
        0

        Throught history? Starting from where? They was no Sinhaleses or Tamils until 1th century. And ofc, Tamils lived in SL since the beginning of the country. How is it that possible people from the country next door didn’t come here. But claiming that 1/3 country is Tamil is just sheer foolishness. And, though their is a Tamil component in Sri Lankan Muslims, most of them originates from Indonesia and Arab. And, Eelam was used denote the whole island not just the Tamil part.

    • 6
      1

      Dear Ashan,
      There was an inscription in Trincomalee that the cat-eyed people will rule this country. Now it appears to be correct.

      • 2
        1

        Where is it?

        I have been hearing this since my childhood, and searched it when I visited Koneswaram and I could not find it.

        It is said the inscription states that Vadugar will be the last or similar to the effect of that Vadukars will get it (i.e. being rulers) back.

        • 2
          0

          KA
          They were not Vadukars. They were Malabars.
          .
          AYATHURAY RAJASINGAM
          Yes, the country is now run by Malaccans/Malabars with the support of some Kandyan Buddhist monks whose origin is not Sinhalese Yakkha. That explains why Kandyan Buddhist monks never take side with the rest of the Sinhalese Buddhists in the country. There are some “good” Buddhist monks in the same group not knowing who they are working with.
          Native Sinhalese Yakkhas were supposed to face a historic bloodbath in 2019. The bloodbath didn’t happen (or was minimized) as the country received a very powerful second protective power in 2019, in addition to Lord Buddha’s protective power.
          However, the Sinhalese Yakkhas are meant to get their country back from Malaccans/Malabars peacefully, without a bloodbath, and rule forever.
          (After seen this, some might try to blast bombs again. So, people should be vigilant.)

      • 1
        1

        Has the Sori Sinhalam stole it and now claiming as theirs?

    • 1
      2

      A, and also chines egg noodles.

  • 6
    3

    There are lot of babbles about how Lankawe lost its sovereignty. King published DR. Manmohan Singh & Jayalalitha‘s compromised cartoon on defense computers during Chitanta time. India did nothing. But, learning from that China hacked 50 computers including defense ministry, 2013 to plug out Pong Cing for teaching a lesson for Chitanata Aanduwa, fore threatening China that if it were not fixing the Nuraicholai, they would hand it over to India. What happened here was a mighty thief China, caught a weaker thief, Lankawe and skinning him for the joint theft 250M deal on Nuraicholai. China did not like India coming anything knowing about it. So, they hacked Lankawe but Lankawe could not cry because the hold was on their amude. It is not just Lankawe could not do anything for that, Lankawe surrendered Pong Cing. So the sovereignty Lankawe sold only for the amude of the Royals. We wrote here, after watching that incident that China is here forever. It was confirmed when Ranil paid $280M fine on their own contract they gave out, (rather not China was paying for its faulty work), and gave 5 villages land free to China to possess Hangbangtota. This type of classic (utter foolish) deal from UNP-SLFP are ones need to be recorded in history books, worldwide. Ultimate comedy is those both side Modayas blamed each other, but nobody punished anybody.

  • 12
    1

    The Bill is a red herring. Sovereignty had already been given over to the Chinese by the Master Agreements referred to in the Bill which have already been concluded both in respect of Hambantota and the Port City. The public nor the Parliament have been told of the contents of these agreements. Until the terms of the agreements which are to last for 99 years are known, we will not know the true extent of the sovereignty that has been transferred. The Buddhist priests and the Sinhala patriots will scream about the Bill but it is the agreements which are important. They should ask them to be tabled in Parliament so that the public will know of its content.

  • 5
    0

    Sinhala Buddhist elected “seenisena” to protect the sovereignty of the state from a nonexistent threat, get the economy going, clear the state apparatus from corruption and nepotism. So how is it working out for the Sinhala Buddhists ?

    “Govt revenue nosedives 27.7% in 2020”
    “SL’s per capita gross domestic product has dropped to US$ 3,682 per person amid a 3.6% fall in real GDP”
    “Sri Lanka public and publicly guaranteed debt is estimated to have risen to 109.7 percent of GDP in 2020 from 94.3 percent in 2019 and is expected to rise to 115.0 percent in 2021 and 117.7 percent in 2021.”
    Presidential commission speaks volumes about corruption as Sumithran said the three wise men themselves had a history their report wanted kidnapers, murders, fraudsters cleared and those tha investigated be charged.
    With so many Rajapaksa’s, extended families and their cronies on the state dime I don’t need to say about nepotism.

    • 2
      1

      Burt, You said it. It is not Sinhala and Buddhism. With so many jobless mouths to feed, robbing the state is a survival need.

    • 0
      0

      Umm, haven’t you heard that there was pandemic which affected the global economy?. Were you living under a rock?

  • 3
    8

    SL has to be practical. China is SL’s all weather friend as we saw at the UNHRC. It is normal for SL and China to forge closer economic, defence, governance, cultural, etc. partnerships. Otherwise India enters this vacuum and we saw in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s how devastating it is.

    Most (not all) people who oppose China in SL are from minorities. When did SL care about the opinion of minorities?

    SL government must explore how it can leverage China connections to eliminate real threats to SL interests. China is an expert in this regard.

    • 3
      1

      Gatam, “Most (not all) people who oppose China in SL are from minorities.”
      You MAY be right on this. You mean, Harin Fernando. Wijedasa Rajapaksa, Manusha Nanayakkara, Lakshman Kirielle, Anura K Dissanayake, Reverend Muruttetuwe Ananda Thero, Harsha De Silva, Reverend Omalpe Sobitha Thero, Eran Wickramaratne
      So they are all minorities and may be Tamils or Muslims, according to your interpretation. I am learning the SL ethnic science now.
      Then could you please explain, who are these majorities in your opinion, agreeable to have a separate territory in sovereign Sri Lanka, by China. Also, within Sri Lankan territorial waters and extended Economic zone in the littoral sea. Who, in your wisdom, pray has the right to do this discharge of Sovereignty or surgical exculpation?
      Wonder Land of Asia.

      • 1
        3

        M
        Tamil nationalism is wedded to Sinophobia for nearly 60 years.
        If you compare newspapers you can see that fear being most heavily promoted in Tamil media.
        As for others you have named, not all are Sinophobic. A few have gone out of the way to knowingly spread falsehood.
        Others are mainly critical of China for what they perceive as support for the Rajapaksas.
        *
        The real dangers of the Colombo Port City Bill are vastly ignored by those playing the China card.
        The public deserves a more comprehensive view rather than slogan mongering.

  • 5
    2

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

    For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 3
    1

    Does the 5man “Chinese port city”commission have any authority over Sri Lanka ?
    Has this been explicitly ruled out in the Chinese Port City Bill

  • 2
    0

    Why not !! This is already a lawless banana republic. Oh I see the problem, now those effects are sinhala buddhists so we should all care ?? Hahahahahahahah go deal with the mess your created don’t involve minorities in this, we will not protest and risk our lives to protect the insecure feelings of 69 lakh 🐃

  • 1
    0

    Dear old codger, Champa, Native Vedda, et al,
    .
    How is it that you have all missed commenting on (therefore I feel that you wouldn’t have read) this very comprehensive article which deals with both the COVID and the current political controversies?

    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/doomsday-looming-where-are-we-heading/
    .
    Just take a look.

    • 2
      0

      Sinhala_Man

      I am sorry I haven’t had time to read the entire article.

      • 0
        0

        I understand, dear NV.
        .
        I also realise that even if you make a comment there now, it will be seen by very few; that would make the time spent by you a waste.
        .
        This is the problem faced by us who are serious and constructive. There are so many superficial one-liner jokes that our better thought out responses don’t have sufficient impact.
        .
        Many thanks for responding, but I think that we must focus on the recent comments.

      • 0
        0

        Some interesting said about Ranil’s UNP, the Wijewardenas running of the Wije Newspaper Group, by Amrit Muttukumara, whom I have hitherto considered a bit of a nut.

        .

        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/parallel-universe-of-the-daily-mirror-wnl/
        .
        Something about Diana Gamage, as well!

        • 0
          0

          S.M,
          “by Amrit Muttukumara, whom I have hitherto considered a bit of a nut.”
          I don’t think there is any good reason to revise you assessment.

    • 1
      0

      Sinhala_Man
      Thank you for your comment.
      I read almost every article, but I don’t post comments to each and every article I read.
      For example, I read Dr. W.A. Wijewardena`s articles but rarely post a comment. In my opinion, finance and economy are two different subjects. Finance should be handled by experts in financial economy while economy could be shaped by government policies. Therefore, no matter how much Dr. Wijewardena tries to give helpful advice, politicians will not undertand finance. The main role of Economists is forecasting and helping policymakers to make sensible decisions. But, I don`t think our politicians ever listen to Economists.

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